Restoration Tips

Is your car squeaking at every stop sign? Could your paint use some touching up? Old Cars Weekly presents tips and techniques for restoring classic cars and parts. Browse our collection of articles from restoring brakes to preparing your car for auto shows. We are your comprehensive resource for antique auto restoration.

Fitting Fenders: Saved by shims

In the beginning, it was business as usual. With the car’s weight on its suspension and even tire inflation, a bottle jack was positioned under the sagging passenger’s side frame horn. Then a long level was laid across the shanks of the upper bumper studs.

What started out as a standard, straight-forward procedure in our ’31 Cadillac project took a surprising twist in the form of a twisted front fender. More »

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Patch panels made easy: Rust busting on a ’37 Chevy school bus

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When Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop got a chance to renovate and customize a 1937 Chevrolet school bus, shop owner Fred Kappus Jr. knew it could be one of the more fun projects his shop had ever taken on. He also knew it could be one of the most challenging. More »

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Here’s the Rub: How to stop wire and hose chafing

Wires or hoses that are not controlled are prone to chafe. Follow this “Modified Work Order” to avoid failure as a result of worn-through wiring and plumbing.

Sometimes, the various hose lines and electrical harnesses of vintage vehicles begin rubbing on each other and chafing against other components. The best way to prevent problems in wires and hoses is to evaluate, emancipate and eliminate or, at least reduce, the effects of rubbing and chafing of the lines by protecting, securing and rerouting them. Here’s how… More »

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Fending for yourself: Attaching fender skirts

A rubber gasket on the skirt is required to seal it against the wheel opening. On a Pontiac such as this 1966, the wheel opening trim will be removed and the NOS skirts will be drilled for bright metal moldings that continue the body line.

Fender skirts are a fad that comes and goes. When vehicle documentation shows that a car had fender skirts when it left the factory, some owners want them reinstalled, regardless of the current fashion. This usually requires a lot more work than it did to glue fender skirts to the model car they built as a kid. More »

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Do-it-yourself patch panels

Schrock cuts the sheet metal with the power shears.

Even on the West Coast and in Texas, it’s getting more difficult to find a 30-year-old or older project car without a case of the tin worm. Chances are, a project car is going to require some metal replacement, and when that metal isn’t available from a reproduction part producer or a parts car, there is but one alternative — make the part yourself. More »

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Tip-top floor pans

On top of the floor, where carpets will cover the very solid repair the waterproof fiberglass filler can be left unsanded if you want only a basic repair.

Many unit-body cars need floor panel repair or replacement. Whether it’s best to fix an isolated rust hole in the existing floor or cut it out completely and install an entire floor pan depends on the size of the hole and your preference. The floor pan is an important structural part of a unit-body car, so large rust holes or widely dispersed pinholes mean a new floor pan is in order. However, if the rust is isolated, new patch panels can be installed, thus saving some of the original sheet metal and money in your wallet. More »

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Exterior resto tips for classy chrome

Parts that have been treated with copper are buffed and polished before they are ready for final chroming. A variety  of metals can be chromed, including cast iron, steel, pot metal, brass and bronz. This piece had surfaces that needed to be hit with both hand tools (above) and a large buffing wheel (below).

Plating expert Terry Meetz knows there’s nothing easy about getting that prefect shine. Meetz has clearly ascended to the top of his profession, and he’s done it the old-fashioned way — by spending thousands of hours toiling in the family shop and slowly winning over customers one at a time around the globe. His business, Custom Plating Specialists, began 30 years ago. More »

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Tip-top convertible roof installation

Upholstery professional D. Chase begins removing the convertible top of a 1984 Buick Riviera, noting how the top was originally installed in order to reinstall it in the same manner. The location of holes, staples, studs and glue are all noted and photographed.

Not all cars are equal, nor are their convertible tops. No-frills cars are likely to have relatively simple tops, but luxury cars often have more complicated tops, such as the roof covering on the featured 1984 Buick Riviera convertible. Installing one of these tops is no easy task, so replacement of this top was trusted to a professional, D. Chase of Chasin’ Perfection. More »

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Painting the pony

Shawn Schrock lays down the first layer of paint on a 1966 Mustang at Kasper Automotive in Waupaca, Wis.

Leonard Schrock jokes that he can’t block sand, paint and buff “all day like I used to be able to. I could just go for hours and never get tired.” After 36 years in the bodywork and auto restoration business, aches and pains can creep up on a guy. Still, Schrock insists he’s able to do bodywork and paint projects better and faster these than he’s ever done them before. Find out how… More »

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Stop window shake and rattle — but keep the roll

The correct-type window sweeps are shown installed on the doors using the correct rear-mounted clips, rather than ugly and incorrect rivets that could scratch the glass as it passes.

Proper window installation tips and tricks Story and Photos by Angelo Van Bogart Proper window and weatherstrip installation will leave the “shake, rattle and roll” to your car’s radio and Highway Hi-Fi, not its window glass. Annoying window glass rattles … More »

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